Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Agritech Expo to showcase Zambia's agriculture
By Bivan Saluseki
Sun 26 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA'S booming agriculture sector will be in focus at the country's first and only business-to-business outdoor agriculture exhibition, Agritech Expo, taking place in Chisamba in April.

The Zambia National Farmers Union is a key partner in the April 4-5 event which is expected to draw over 8,000 of the industry's leading farmers, suppliers, manufacturers, retails, agents and service providers.

"Agritech Expo puts Zambia on the map. It is our first business-to-business international farming exhibition and positions Zambia at the same level as our regional partners," ZNFU executive director Ndambo Ndambo said.

"Zambia is a nation on the rise, with an economy projected to be one of the 10 fastest growing in the world between now and 2015," said Agritech Expo event director Liam Beckett.

"At the heart of this growth is Zambia's flourishing agriculture sector, accounting for 35 per cent of the nation's GDP which equates to around $4.5billon in real money. The expansion of small-scale farming and the development of emerging and commercial farms are the key contributors to growth of the agriculture sector in Zambia."

Beckett said the timing of Agritech Expo was therefore perfect.

"It is a full-scale, live agriculture event offering everything from first-hand demonstrations of the latest in large scale agricultural machinery to live crop trials. We want visitors to really be able to get their hands dirty and be able to experience what is on offer," he said.

One of the greatest challenges facing farmers across Africa is maximising the potential of their arable land by increasing crop yields.

Average crop yields across Zambia are 1.5-2 metric tonnes per hectare where there is potential to achieve in excess of eight metric tonnes per hectare. Set on a 24 hectare site at the GART Research Centre in Chisamba, Agritech Expo has seven live crop trials taking place at the event.

The fields were planted last November and will be ready in April 2014. The crop trials will give visitors a first-hand opportunity to see the effects of agro chemicals on crop growth and development.

The outdoor expo will also feature dozens of agrochemicals, financial services,irrigation and livestock stands.

The expo is free for all agricultural professionals who pre-register, or arrive with an event ticket.

Agritech Expo boasts strong local industry and institutional support including the ZNFU, Musika, a Zambian non-profit that stimulates private investment in the smallholder market, GART or the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust and USAID, which will offer a comprehensive, free technical workshop programme.

Global agri giant AGCO has already confirmed its exclusive diamond sponsorship for Agritech Expo while Stanbic Bank is a platinum sponsor. Other sponsors include Afgri, BASF, Seed-Co, SARO, Du Pont-Pioneer, John Deere, Valtra, K2,Kempston, Lindsay, Zamseed and EFE.

A one-day conference, the Agribusiness Congress, forms part of Agritech Expo and will address key issues facing Zambian agriculture this year, including crop diversification, export and import regulations, innovative finance and supplier relationships.

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